“For the next 28 days, we will not change our religion.” Qatar has issued a warning to anyone planning on displaying their LGBTQ lifestyle at the World Cup.

To avoid being attacked for advocating gay rights, LGTBQ couples and activists have been advised not to showcase the lifestyle or rainbow flags at the World Cup in Qatar.

Rainbow flags could be removed from supporters at the World Cup, according to a senior official supervising security for the event.

Despite the fact that same-sex relationships are still illegal in Qatar, Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari emphasized that LGBTQ couples would be welcomed and accepted in the country during the FIFA World Cup, which runs from November 21 to December 18.

Al Ansari, on the other hand, is opposed to openly promoting LGBTQ rights, as symbolized by the rainbow flag, which FIFA and World Cup organizers had previously stated would be welcome across Qatar’s eight stadiums.

“If he (a fan) hoisted the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to remove it, to truly insult him, but to protect him,” Al Ansari told the Associated Press.

“Because if it isn’t me, someone else in the vicinity may assault (him)…” I can’t promise that everyone will behave properly. ‘Please, no need to actually raise that flag at this moment,’ I’ll tell him.”

“You want to convey your position on the (LGBTQ) problem in a society where it will be acceptable,” he continued.

“We recognize that this individual has a ticket and has come here to watch the game, not to protest, to engage in a political (act), or to do something that is on his mind.”

“Keep an eye on the game. That’s excellent. But don’t come in and offend the entire culture as a result.”

Fans and anti-discrimination activists slammed Al Ansari’s warning.

In a joint statement, Julia Ehrt of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and Ronain Evain of Football Supporters Europe said, “Often, so-called ‘protections’ are in fact smokescreens to cover up human rights crimes.”

“FIFA and Qatar must address these issues immediately, and show the world that a rights-respecting and safe tournament for LGBTIQ fans is possible,” Julia Ehrt added.

Al Ansari clarified that he was not advising LBGTQ fans to avoid Qatar or threatening them with prosecution.

“Reserve the room together, sleep together – this isn’t something we’re concerned about,” he remarked. We’ve come to oversee the tournament. Let’s not get into the personal matters that may be occurring between these individuals… this is the notion.

“We can’t modify the laws here.” For the duration of the World Cup, you are unable to alter your religion.”

“I am risking… a minority position against a majority,” he continued.

“We need to be close to the problem before it explodes and becomes uncontrollable….” If someone attacks you, I’m going to have to intervene, and it’ll be too late.”

Categorized as Sport

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